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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Performance Audit of the Licensure of Child Placing Agencies Administered by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services , Report No. 12233, January 1994

  • The Department has not developed guidelines for district staff to use in assessing adoption agency fees, and most licensure workers either do not know how to make such assessments or have difficulty doing so. The purpose of regulating agency fees is to ensure that they cover only the reasonable costs agencies incur for the services they perform. When child-placing agencies or others involved in the adoption process are allowed to profit from adoption transactions, the potential exists that those transactions will not be carried out in a manner that protects the interests of children and their natural and adoptive parents. Other states have developed alternative strategies to help regulate agency fees.
  • Neither the central or district program offices have procedures to inform child-placing agency clients about how to file complaints against agencies or to ensure that complaints are processed effectively and expeditiously. In addition, the Department has not developed written guidelines to guide the complaint investigation process. Currently, licensure workers we interviewed rely on their judgment or instructions from their supervisors to decide how to investigate complaints. Finally, the Department has not established uniform guidelines and procedures to guide district staff in carrying out enforcement actions when they discover violations as a result of annual compliance reviews or complaints.

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